Bobo named Duluth wrestling coach

DULUTH - Even before he interviewed for the head coaching job, Ed Bobo was working to keep the wheels rolling for Duluth's wrestling program.

Bobo came to Duluth two years ago and has seen two different wrestling head coaches in that time. An assistant for the Wildcats' program and with 13 years of head coaching experience under his belt, Bobo was interested in taking over.

But before that hiring process began, he put together Duluth's 2009-10 schedule.

"That way we had a complete schedule, a competitive schedule, so we start setting our goals for that," Bobo said. "Even if I wasn't going to be the head wrestling coach, I had that already in place for these kids.

"Because I want them to be better, I want the program to grow."

Bobo was introduced as the Duluth's new head coach Monday at the school, an announcement that drew a big round of applause and grins from the nine wrestlers in attendance.

"The big thing that appealed to me is that I'm already here, the kids know me and I've built a rapport with them and the parents," Bobo said. "That's important to have. And I've had a chance to see the areas of strength in our program and I've seen the areas that need improvement. I feel like that's a big advantage of already being here."

Athletic director Bill Navas made the official announcement as the school day neared a close Monday and said he was excited about what Bobo plans to do with the program.

"I felt like Coach Bobo was our best candidate," Navas told the team.

Bobo then said a few words. But as with creating the upcoming season's schedule, he wasted no time and handed out flyers for the two summer camps he wants the team to attend.

The school bell rang and several boys hollered out "Congratulations, Coach!" as they headed out, many for football practice.

"The kids have bought into, through football, the weight programs during the offseason," Bobo said. "I saw this year the results of the kids starting to believe in the team concept rather than the individual concept and we're going to build on that a lot more."

It's this group that Bobo sees as the program's strength. His biggest task will be ensuring wrestlers like Gabe and Noah Cunningham and state qualifier Evan Greer keep filtering into the program.

And Bobo has already established his sincere interest in the future of Duluth wrestling.

"The biggest strength that we have is a real good core of kids that have wrestling experience," Bobo said. "The biggest area that needs to be worked on is getting our youth program reestablished.

"We have to start getting the feeder system in with our kids here because that's the only way we're going to be able to complete with Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill and the other programs in our region."

SideBar: The Bobo File

Name: Ed Bobo

New position: Head wrestling coach at Duluth

Former position: Assistant coach at Duluth

Age: 57

Education: Graduated from Milton in 1965; bachelors ('75) and masters ('81) from Georgia State University; doctorate of chiropractic from Life University ('91).

Background: Been at Duluth for last two years as special education science teacher and assistant coach for wrestling and football; was head wrestling coach at Woodstock and Campbell from 2003-07; spent a decade as professor and department chair at Life University after getting doctorate of chiropractic from Marietta school; during that time was also a football official; prior to stint at Life, was coach and teacher at several Atlanta area schools, including Briarcliff and Avondale

Family: Wife Martha; and son Jonathan, 31, daughter Carmen, 29